03-05-2011, 12:37 AM
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It all depends on your experience with jumping. Getting a trainer can never hurt (provided its a good trainer) and they are usually worth every penny.
But, as for starting him yourself: How old is your boy? Why do you say 'try'? Has he had any experience jumping? Good or bad experience? The best way to start is obviously with trot poles. I usualy start with lunging a horse over poles (start with one and build up from there) at both the trot and canter, let them figure it out. Once they have the hang of it, then I move and do the same exercises in the saddle. I also like to adjust the poles, make the striding slightly longer, slightly shorter etc. to get the horse (and rider) used to shortening and extending its stride which is a valuable tool for jumping.
I don't lunge horses over jumps very often, mainly because all of our jumps have jump standards that the lunge line could get caught on but I have lunged a few horses over barrels on the ground and logs which works well. But for others, I just start taking them over very small cross rails. Sometimes they need lots of leg for encouragement and some trot over them while same take HUGE leaps the first time (very important that you go with the horse even if it takes a massive leap and don't catch it in the mouth). Once the horse is happy jumping small cross rails, I move on to two jumps after each other (gradually decreasing the distance between the two) to get them used to combinations and then move on to triple combinations and then gradually increase the height.
I like to start jumping horses from a trot and maintaining a regular, calm rythm is a must! Horses must not rush jumps and must remain responsive. Only once my horse is happy trotting over the jumps, do I move on to cantering over jumps (start again from the beginning, do they keep a regular stride over cantering poles etc.). When I increase the height (up to a point obviously), I also start with trotting over that height until they are calm and jumping well and then start cantering over it.
Cavaletti is always great, it does wonders for your horses jumping form!